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Article updated: 2/21/2013 9:05 AM

Small jet crash kills 5 in eastern Georgia

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By Associated Press

THOMSON, Ga. -- Authorities were investigating after a small jet crashed off the end of a runway after landing in eastern Georgia, killing five people and injuring two.

Thomson-McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall said the jet crashed after 8 p.m. Wednesday. He said the two survivors were taken to area hospitals but did not have information on their conditions. He said the identities of those killed were being withheld pending notification of family members.

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The Hawker Beechcraft 390/Premier I departed from Nashville, Tenn., when it crashed just after landing at the Thomson-McDuffie County Airport, about 30 miles west of Augusta, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said in an email.

Seven people were aboard, she told The Associated Press in the email. She told The Augusta Chronicle that the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate and determine the probable cause of the crash.

The Augusta Chronicle cited Assistant County Fire Chief Stephen Sewell as saying there were at least two survivors identified as a pilot and a passenger. But he provided no additional information about those aboard.

Bodies of the five people who died have been taken to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation lab in Decatur, where autopsies were planned, GBI spokesman John Bankhead said Thursday morning. The GBI worked with the sheriff's office to recover the bodies, as they sometimes do at accident scenes.

The newspaper also said a brush fire flared near the crash scene, quoting witnesses who reported power outages that prompted a utility to send workers to the site.

The plane was on a flight from John Tune Airport in Nashville, Tenn., to the Thomson-McDuffie airport, Bergen said in her email, adding the aircraft is registered to a company based in Wilmington, Del.

The Thomson McDuffie-Regional Airport is the largest general aviation facility in the Central Savannah River Area -- a 13 county region in east Georgia and western South Carolina, according to the airport's website. It serves Augusta, Thomson and the Reynolds Plantation/Lake Oconee Resort area.

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